CDM Caregiving Services, Vancouver’s largest nonprofit serving the elderly, veterans and people with disabilities, is joining forces with HOPE Dementia Support, a Vancouver organization that supports people with dementia and their caregivers.
HOPE was founded in 2007 as a weekly dementia support group. It obtained nonprofit status in 2012. In 2018, it began partnering with community organizations to provide monthly educational opportunities and other free programs aimed at supporting caregivers and raising awareness about dementia.
“We’ve been growing a fair amount recently, and we were having some challenges with being able to get all of the administrative work done,” said Lynn Crawford, HOPE’s program manager and former executive director.
To help remedy those challenges, a member of HOPE’s Board of Directors suggested that HOPE integrate with a larger, more established organization, such as CDM, a 44-year-old nonprofit with a large volunteer base and brick-and-mortar operation. Crawford liked the idea.
“Because CDM Caregiving Services is a much larger organization than we are, they have all of the administrative folks in place,” Crawford said. “Joining them allows our volunteers to do what they became volunteers for and to stop doing all of that administrative stuff.”
The two organizations have worked together in the past, so starting the integration process was easy, Crawford said.
“We know what they did, and they knew what we did,” she said. “We like each other.”
The process itself was challenging, however. HOPE had to legally dissolve its nonprofit status, which took a couple of months, and a lot of plans had to be put in place. But on Feb. 8, HOPE successfully joined CDM.
“The contracts are signed, and we have registered our name with the state as being a program of CDM,” Crawford said.
HOPE’s operations will remain mostly the same, according to Crawford, and with the added resources provided by CDM, HOPE will be able to focus on growing its programs, she said.
“HOPE is not going away,” she said. “It makes people very anxious when you have an organization that has existed as long as we have to be making changes. The reality is we’re not changing much. Everything that we do we will continue to do.”
That includes HOPE’s monthly educational opportunities, therapy programs and more.
“CDM has really been very generous with understanding that we are what we are, and we’re not going to change that,” Crawford said.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, HOPE hosted its support groups at various facilities throughout Clark County. In 2020, all of its operations went virtual. Now, Crawford and the organization’s 25 volunteers look forward to hosting support groups and more out of CDM’s large facility at 2300 N.E. Andresen Road, which is set to reopen to the public in April.
“Our group members are really, really looking forward to that,” Crawford said. “We’re grateful for Zoom, but they’re waiting to see each other.”
Another benefit to the integration for HOPE is increased awareness, Crawford said.
“It’s important for people to know that we exist, and that’s one of the things about affiliating with CDM,” she said. “CDM has been around since 1978, and so people are somewhat more aware of CDM than they are of HOPE.”
Eric Erickson, CDM’s executive director, is also excited about the integration.
“HOPE fits perfectly within CDM as another way to help people through the journey of long-term care and, specifically, the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia,” he said. “We are ecstatic to be able to bring this amazing program into the CDM family.”
Both Erickson and Crawford agree: The integration will allow both organizations to better serve people living with dementia and their caregivers, who often go unpaid. In 2020, more than 11 million family members and other unpaid caregivers in the United States provided an estimated 15.3 billion hours of care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
“It’s all about providing the support for those care partners that are taking care of their loved ones,” Crawford said. “This is about serving the community.”